Bah Tony called to the Malaysian Bar
Published: 23 October 2010
First Orang Asli male called to the Bar
A 57-year-old Orang Asli lawyer called to the Bar at the Ipoh High Court yesterday has vowed to fight for the long denied basis rights of his marginalised community.
Amani William-Hunt Abdullah, of mixed English-Orang Asli parentage, is the first male to be called to the bar in the country and the third in the community after two females before him.
He said that the basic rights of his community as enshrined in Article 8(5)(c) of the federal constitution have been ignored by both the federal and state governments in the last 53 years,
Abdullah (left with his wife and lawyer Anthony in photo) pointed out that the article does not invalidate or prohibit any provision for the protection, well-being or advancement of the aboriginal peoples of the Malay peninsular (including the reservation of land) or the reservation to aborigines a reasonable proportion of suitable positions in the public service.
He said much hype and importance has been given to Article 153 of the constitution which ensures reservation of quotas in respect of services, permits etc for Malays and the natives of Sabah and Sarawak.
However, the Orang Asli, the natives of Malaya, have been marginalised and not been given the same importance and such implementation as enshrined in the article.
Hence Amani, a former president of the Association of Aborigines of Peninsular Malaysia, wants to correct this social economic imbalance of his community in terms of land, education, employment and other economic opportunities as enjoyed by other Malaysians.
'Law is the cement of society'
The economics graduate and former banker who believes that "law is the cement of society", has chosen the legal profession to initiate reforms within his community so they can match the economic progress of other Malaysians.
According to human rights lawyer and social worker Augustine Anthony, upon taking over the helm as president of the community's association, Amani had reorganised, revitalised and within the period of 1987 to 1991 had boosted its the membership from a mere 300 to 17,000.
Amani's father was anthropologist Major Peter William-Hunt, the first advisor to the government on Orang Asli affairs, and his mother, Wak Draman, a member of the Tapah Semai tribe's chief's family.
Amani is married to Khatimatul Husna Zainuddin, 38, with six children aged from 10 to 30.
[COAC's note: This article contains many instances of inaccurate reporting but is left as is to reflect the original published version.]